About me

David Bartholomew


I am a tropical forest ecologist interested in understanding patterns of species coexistence and ecosystem reponses to environmental change. I currently work as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science at Umeå University.

I started my career as a conservation biologist and have studied a variety of taxa, including birds, sharks, sea turtles, cetaceans, orang-utans, and plants. I have worked in many countries across the world including the UK, Sweden, France, Peru, Brazil, Tanzania, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

I gained a degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Oxford, before completing a Master’s degree in Conservation and Biodiversity at the University of Exeter. Following these degrees, I spent a year volunteering in Tanzania at the Kilombero Valley Ornithological Centre and in Indonesia at the Orangutan Health Project. I then returned to the University of Exeter to complete my PhD in Geography. My PhD focused on understanding the importance of habitat niche partitioning in supporting high species richness of tropical forests. In my PhD, I also investigated how environmental change, including drought and logging, will affect the dynamics of tropical forests.

My current research focuses on the tropical montane cloud forests of the Peruvian Andes. I am interested in understanding how changes in fog and precipitation will affect the carbon cycle, eco-physiology and diversity of these forests. This research takes place at the cloud curtain project in the montane forests of Manu National Park. Here, an experiment has been established to exclude the different water inputs from the forest across four permanent research plots: (1) a control, (2) a fog exclusion treatment, (3) a rainfall exclusion treatment and (4) a lateral flow exclusion treatment. These plots are intensively monitored to understand the carbon cycle of the forest, with tree productivity, respiration and decomposition all regularly measured. My research will help reveal how changes to the climate of montane forests may affect their carbon budget and potential for carbon sequestration. I will also measure a range of leaf and hydraulic traits to understand the vulnerability of species to environmental change.

In addition to my research, I co-founded the Little Environmental Action Foundation (LEAF). LEAF is a charity restoring some of the most threatened ecosystems on Earth. Our projects use methods rooted in science and place an emphasis on threatened tree species. Our projects include restoring coastal dry forest and mangrove forests of Kilifi county in Kenya.

Outside of academia, my interests include wildlife photography, cycling, scuba diving and birdwatching. I simply love all nature and wild places.

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